From Trapped to Triumphant

By Lisa Chandler, 31 August, 2022
The view out my bathroom window.

I got trapped in my own bathroom the other day. The old glass knobs, as charming as they are, don’t work well. Try as I might, I could not get the door open.  After a moment of claustrophobic panic, I sat on the closed toilet seat to contemplate my options. 

No one else was at home and I had left my phone on the patio. Hmmm.

Clipboard with probing questions, on the bathroom wall.

There, facing me on the bathroom wall, was a fresh set of probing questions I had hung there the day before, almost as if I knew I would be stuck there soon to contemplate them. 

I read the questions. 

And reflected on them. 

For about sixty seconds. 

Then I started plotting my escape.

There I was, with nothing but time to ponder, the kind of time I regularly bemoan I don’t have enough of; instead I was the poster child for Pema Chödrön’s saying: “Never underestimate the urge to bolt”.

I’m a seasoned conscious leadership coach; you might expect me to be good at sitting still by now. Or maybe that’s just what I expect of me.  

At any rate, I found myself below the line, judging myself harshly for not being willing to just stay put.

Instead, I got myself the heck out. 

Despite that I was stuck on the first floor, it took a surprising amount of courage (and more attempts than I care to describe here) to get out of that small window. It even hurt a bit. 

But the actual escape is not the triumph I want to celebrate. Being able to see myself for all my tendencies, helpful and not, and being willing to accept and forgive myself after the fact for wanting to bolt—this is a much greater victory.